Emotional Intelligence Gives Workers the Confidence to Speak Up

emotional intelligencePersonality and emotions are hardwired in each of us. You can’t control how something makes you feel, but some people are better at controlling how they react. Others have learned to read people’s emotions and effectively influence those reactions as well.

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is often seen as a hidden quality that makes people successful beyond their measurable IQ. Good leaders and strong managers rely on emotional intelligence to do their jobs well, interact with coworkers, and encourage others to build key relationships.

“In jobs that required extensive attention to emotions, higher emotional intelligence translated into better performance,” said Adam Grant of The Atlantic. “However, in jobs that involved fewer emotional demands, the results reversed. The more emotionally intelligent employees were, the lower their job performance.”

Another study Grant cites found no relationship between EQ and helping colleagues or customers. “Helping is driven by our motivations and values, not by our abilities to understand and manage emotions.”

The one area where emotional intelligence consistently had a positive effect is speaking up. Study subjects’ ability to control their own emotions gave them confidence (and ability) in speaking up with ideas and suggestions, leading to greater respect, job satisfaction, and results.

More than two decades after emotional intelligence first took flight, psychological research has finally caught up. While these more recent and thorough findings demonstrate that developing your EQ will not necessarily make you an instant success, there are occupations and situations where EQ definitely helps. These careers include sales, real estate agents, call center representatives, front desk personnel, teachers, and counselors.

Will developing your emotional intelligence make you better at your job? If you’re responsible for recruiting and hiring, should you choose candidates with higher emotional intelligence? That really depends on the job.

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